Walking in the Spirit
Read the scripture here: Galatians 5:16 – 24
When I was younger, Friday night was family movie night. We would go to Blockbuster (remember that??), get a movie, twizzlers, and all sit down in front of the TV for some good fun.
My dad was always concerned about any sexual content in the movies we bought. We had a routine. Whenever something was about to come on that looked like it could be suspicious, my dad would start making a loud noise to drown out sounds, and check the room to make sure everyone was covering their eyes. Unfortunately for him, I was good at making believe I was covering my eyes.
Like most men and women alive, lust is a temptation I have to deal with. It comes in many forms for different people, but none the less it is something that comes. When I was younger many times I felt helpless to its enticement. Never turning away during bad scenes, a big imagination, and access to internet meant constant temptation and failure with this issue.
That all changed when I was 19. For the last 12 months I had finally started developing a real relationship with God. Praying regularly, reading the Bible, and just finding enjoyment in who He is. I went to a movie with a couple of friends and I remember a nude scene coming on the screen. I looked away. More importantly, I didn’t regret looking away. It was weird. My whole life I forced myself to look away and regretted it, or pretended to look away while I watched.
I understood for the first time what this passage meant. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Often times I tried using will power to change my life. But, right in front of me was the answer. Being with God is what changes my life.
There was no switch that went off in me that changed my attitude towards lust that day in the movies. The temptation was still there as before. My regiment of hating myself for my sin was not extra peppy that morning. After 12 months of getting to know God more through prayer, scripture, time alone, and with people my heart had slowly changed. I didn’t notice the significance of that change until sitting in the movie that evening.
The Gospel and the grace God has extended to us was never meant to be a lifelong pass to sin and still go to heaven. It is an avenue for us to be made righteous even while we mess up along the way.
The Law does not make us good. Our willpower will fail us. But over time, being close to God is the only hope to enjoy the fruit of His spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Is there something in your life you know is wrong that you have always wanted to be free from?
What are ways you have tried to stop that action or change that behavior?
How does ‘walking in the Spirit’ alter your perception of how it will change?
Father, make us holy like you are holy.
We know we are not perfect.
Thank you for accepting us anyway.
Allow us to not take that acceptance for granted.
Bring us to enjoy that acceptance by being close to You.
Thank you for cleansing, washing, and purifying us.
Thank you for changing us.